Baku, Azerbaijan (PortSEurope) April 19, 2019 – Kazakhstan’s Aktau port has started operating a regular container service linking its docks to Azerbaijan’s Baku port.
The service will be operated by the Kazakhstani feeder vessel Turkestan, which ensures the loading of cargo of two full-capacity container trains. Aktau port aims to ensure the efficiency of transit traffic through the territory of Kazakhstan through the logistics infrastructure of the Altynkol border station and the dry port in Khorgos.
Both ports are part of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR, also known as the Middle Corridor), which combines the countries participating in the Silk Road project and important players of the region. Its members are leading maritime and transport companies from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, China and Turkey. The organisation aims to popularise the middle corridor, accelerate and simplify cargo transportation procedures between Asia and Europe, and make special preferential tariffs. Between East and West, in terms of cargo, the middle corridor helps to compete with the north-south routes.
TITR allows European companies to bypass Russia, which until now sanctions the transit of certain types of goods through the country. A number of Russian entities are under sanctions from the international community following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014. The importance of this route was underlined with the inclusion of Georgia and Azerbaijan in the European Union (EU) TEN-T network.
The new Silk Road (part of the Belt and Road initiative also known as One Belt, One Road, or OBOR) is a Chinese economic strategy to seek better access for Chinese-made products in European markets, which includes acquiring stakes in ports and other transport facilities, and cooperation agreements with countries along the Silk Road routes.
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